Maruti Suzuki Baleno Facelift First Drive

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Overview

The Swift was the car which changed the hatchback dynamics in the Indian market when it was launched in 2005 and since then, it has single-handedly dominated the hatchback segment, being the top selling car in its segment, not by a small amount but by a huge margin. The Swift’s popularity and the fact that it was Maruti Suzuki’s best hatchback meant that the vehicle had to deal with more responsibilities, like competing in the premium hatchback space which has cars a segment above. Now to relieve the Swift of its duties in the premium hatchback space, Maruti Suzuki has bought in the Baleno, a car which is bigger than the Swift in every way and has been designed to lure customers who find shortcomings in the Swift. The new Baleno has a lot of significance, it brings back the old moniker used by Maruti’s then flagship sedan (in the 2000s) and the Indian automaker has been entrusted with producing the car for the world. But how good is this Hyundai Elite i20 challenger? Check for Baleno price in Kolkata

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Exterior

Front

The front of the Maruti Baleno is quite stylish and gives a unique presence to the car, one that sets it apart from the crowd. There are daytime running LEDs, but these come only in the top end Alpha variant, which is quite a dampener. The headlamp design reminds one of the Swift. The black honeycomb grille is smart looking and has chrome garnishing on the lower end, which adds some flair. The bumper gels well with rest of the body.

 

Side

From the side the car looks very contemporary and long as well. The side profile does look much better than the competition despite the fact all of them are under 4 metres and the same length hatches. The hood has a nice curve to it and the silhouette looks beautiful. This is certainly the best angle of the car.

 

Rear

The rear is also appealing and muscular. There is a rear spoiler as well which is neatly integrated. Maruti follows the liquid flow design for Baleno, which makes it look trendy. The paint job on the Maruti Baleno is of good quality and makes it premium looking. The Maruti Baleno looks longer than the competition and even more premium in styling.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Interior

The wheelbase measuring 2520 mm may not be the best in the segment but indicates comfortable space for passengers on the front and rear. Maruti has utilized the space well. The thigh support is good on the front and there is enough leg room for the passengers seated at the back. What MSI has missed is superior-quality material; instead, it has used same-dated dials and, buttons and compromised plastic material. However, presence of contemporary features does make for this void. View Price & Offers on Baleno

Instead of chrome finishing around the door handles and parking brakes, the hatchback gets metal finishing. The cabin is well illuminated. The multi-information speedometer display with colour TFT appears vivid amid the dark colour scheme. Leather is used only on the steering wheel, otherwise it is absent around the gear knob and door trims. Comfort gizmos aboard consists of a string of goodies, such as remote keyless entry, front/rear power windows, auto-up power window for driver, telescopic steering with tilt function, adjustable head rests in front/rear, automatic AC, height adjuster for driver’s seat, accessory socket in front/rear and push start/stop with smart key.
Besides the usual features, MSI has stuffed a Smatphone Connect/Apple CarPlay system in the range topping variant, although the lower trims get an audio system with FM/MP3 and CD player. Yet another exclusive feature available on the range-topping variant is the SmartPlay infotainment system, along with the navigation and voice command systems. Steering-mounted audio controls, Aux-In, USB port and Bluetooth are other significant features available on the hatch.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Engine & Transmission

The engines on offer are a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel. Both are offered with five-speed manual, while the petrol even gets a CVT on option. The petrol engine has great performance, complimented by the light weight of the car. The body weight of the Maruti Baleno is about 900kgs. The performance of the petrol engine is the best in its segment. The engine is highly refined and it has good power power on offer too. At the same time, this engine packs in generous torque too. The petrol comes with an option of five-speed manual or CVT. The CVT is recommended for city driving, while the petrol manual has good amount of punch too.

 

The Maruti Baleno diesel is certainly not the most powerful one in the segment, on paper. As it produces 75bhp only and has five-speed manual. But in the real world, the performance is at par with the competition. You do not feel the turbo lag, in fact this is a highly drivable engine. Both the engines have good power and drivability, the petrol has better of the two. As this diesel car is agin lighter than its competition, 

Maruti Baleno 2017 Mileage

The Maruti Baleno ranks very high in mileage. For a petrol engine, this returns about 13 km/l in the city and about 16km/l on the highway. At the same time, the Maruti Baleno CVT has an efficiency of 11 km/l in the city and about 14km/l on the highway. On the other hand, the diesel engine returns close to 16 km/l in the city and about 19 km/l on the highway.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Ride and Handling

The Baleno is lighter than the Swift due to a new platform and while the lightness is a boon, it’s not at the cost of rigidity as the new platform is 10% stronger. This Maruti has been softly sprung (remember, this car is made to please those who find something lacking in the Swift) and comfort is what the Baleno is aimed at. Thus the ride quality is excellent and the car absorbs almost everything in its stride, save for sharper bumps. Even on bad roads, there is little noise which is transmitted to the cabin, the suspension working silently to iron out bad tarmac. But out on the highway, road and tyre noise does get inside the cabin and in the case of the diesel, the engine’s drone further makes things noisy.

The top-spec model rides on lower profile, 16-inch wheels while the lower models with higher profile 15-inch rubber is even better in the ride quality department. The Maruti Baleno features a long wheelbase which does help in giving the hatchback very good high speed stability. The handling is good and body control is excellent too, although not in the same league of the sportier Swift. What is really impressive is the steering wheel that weighs up quite well at speed and is quite quick too, feel and feedback being good enough to put a big smile on the driver’s face. Braking performance left us a bit disappointed as the Baleno doesn’t inspire confidence to brake hard and even though it’s light, the car feels a bit twitchy under hard braking, the lower trims more so with the 15-inch MRF ZVTV rubber lacking grip. The top-end model using 16-inch wheels gets Apollo Alnac 4G tyres which offer much better grip than the MRFs.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Braking and Safety

Power is retarded by disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. Anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution is a standard feature available across the model series. Dual airbags for the driver and co-passenger are also incorporated in the entire line-up. Among the vital safety fitments, front fog lamps, pinch guard power window on the driver’s side, reverse parking sensors, reverse parking camera and rear defogger have also been employed. Other than the above mentioned features, the hatchback gets dual horn, anti-theft security system, head lamp levelling, auto head lamps, front seat belt pre-tensioners, front seat belt force limiters, auto diming IRVM, driver side seat belt reminder, rear wiper and washer.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Price

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 5,24,832/- (Baleno Sigma Petrol) to 8,46,377/- (Baleno Alpha CVT Petrol). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Baleno from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in India

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Verdict

Maruti Suzuki is called the hatchback king and the Baleno is testimony to the same fact. With its first premium hatchback, the Indo-Japanese automaker has worked on several aspects to impress customers. Yes the interior could have felt better with less of parts from lower Maruti cars and the diesel engine could have belted out more power and less noise, more so when competition is kept in sight. But, when you look at the overall package, you realise the Baleno is an all-rounder. It looks good, has plenty of space on the inside, comes with a ton of features (some of them being unique to the segment), drives well, efficiency is class leading and the ride-handling balance is excellent too. Maruti has a sure-shot winner on its hands and the competition better be worried.

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